Part Five of the US War Department’s Why We Fight — hommage to the Soviet repulse of the Nazi invasion.
“This film, directed by Capra, is an opportunity for many Americans to learn some truths long suppressed.”
It is with a great sense of deja vu and sadness that I watch this again. Most Americans of our day have never seen it, but in early 1943, my country had great appreciation, both for what the Soviet Union had suffered, and for what it had already achieved.
In this film it is noted that Russia lost Crimea to Germany in 1918, to the Nazis in 1942. And now we realize, there was Krushchev, all by himself in 1954. Here we see the siege of Sevastopol, the siege of Leningrad, which the Soviet Army broke, coincidentally, on the day I was born. And finally, Stalingrad.
In sum, Victory of Nazis, followed by defeat of Nazis.
I add, with his kind permission, the comment on this film made by John Mackoviak:
During the Cold War the only thing comparable, telling the story of the USSR’s single handed defeat of the Nazis was the TV series the “Unknown War”, narrated by Burt Lancaster in 1978. This film, directed by Capra is an opportunity for many Americans to learn some truths long suppressed. Just one example: The film showed how country after country invaded by the Nazis massed their troops at the border in order to ward off the attacks. All ended in failure. The film, with the benefit of the US War Department oversight, understood that the Soviets employed a strategy of defense in depth and held back the bulk of their forces so that they were better situated to take on Nazi forces. Later, during the Cold War and to this day the Soviets are criticized for their lack of preparation.
All in all, a most bittersweet documentary.
— Tom Winter